5 Lessons in business continuity and supply chain management from a pandemic like COVID19

In these worrisome times with the tragic loss of human life as a result of the spread of the coronavirus, the world is a troubled place full of panic and uncertainty. The average individual including mom and pop businesses could not be expected to and would not have the tools and resources to plan for a black swan event such as this.

For the rest of the business community, the value of digital channels, products, infrastructure and technology for the preparedness for business continuity is self-evident now. Businesses with well established, rehearsed and tested comprehensive business continuity and supply chain management plans have invoked the actions and are in a better position to survive the crisis.

Lesson 1

Supply chain knowledge is key

It was quickly evident from current events how supply chain or third-party management processes and systems are critical for businesses to survive. While having a handle on your critical suppliers and the risks they pose to your business is vital and may provide some comfort, as events unfold the value of the in-depth understanding of your suppliers using regular criticality-based assessments will be the differentiator. Knowledge on your vendors business continuity and disaster recovery plans, their supply chain (4th and 5th party vendors), capability to meet SLA’s in times of stress and so on will be critical in saving your business but will also enable you to work collaboratively to help your supply navigate these challenging times.     

Lesson 2

It is in these unprecedented circumstances the businesses that have comprehensive business continuity plans which have been repeatedly tested and have been performing regular business impact analysis will be better positioned to ride this turmoil out.

Detailed planning for remote working, work rotation, social distancing, isolation and so on require detailed knowledge of business processes, key personnel and workflow in order to facilitate a whole host of different working environments. The ability for remote access whilst safeguarding critical and confidential information and data will prove key.

Lesson 3

Supply chain and business continuity management are integrated

The initial concern of global business was maintaining critical supply chains but as governments started restricting movement with ‘lockdowns’, ‘work from home’ and ‘stay in place’ it quickly dawned that business continuity also needs to be secured. The lesson that supply chains and business continuity management are intrinsically linked and must be considered together not in silos.

Lesson 4

Digitalized workplaces will fare better and recover faster

Businesses that have embraced technology are able to minimize downtime and disruption as remote working will be the norm for the interim.

Operational continuity can be maximized by considering these steps:

  • Ensuring a comprehensive understanding of people’s workflow
  • Procuring technologies needed to facilitate the workflow remotely
  • Establishing policies, training and awareness for remote working and access
  • Ensuring access and security in order to work safely

Lesson 5

Not re-adapting will not be an option

Many businesses will need to be nimble to reapply excess capacity away from a traditional products or business lines with low or no demand due to the COVD19 outbreak and shift to products with high demand.  

Businesses that can but have chosen not to automate and continued to rely on manual tasks must quickly adapt to scale up and leverage technology if they are to have a shot at survival.

It is very evident that when we return to ‘normality’ it will be a new normality, one that will be very digitally focused so we are prepared for the future and sadly many businesses that were reluctant to adapt will be consigned to history.  

Our mission is to help the business community to get through these challenging times like we continue helping our customers to plan, act and adapt as the crisis unfolds. To learn more, request a demo, discuss a free trial proof of value or simply start a conversation drop a quick email to contact@maclear-grc.com.


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